Workers Allegedly Forced To Leave Capital

Police allegedly arrested a wo­man in Kompong Chhnang prov­ince and demanded that she bring her children and their friends—who had gone to Phnom Penh to loo k for work—back to the province because they were involved in a pro-Sam Rainsy Party demonstration, villagers said on Tuesday.

Ser Eak, 52, said police in Kom­pong Chhnang arrested her on Thursday and accused her of taking her children and their friends to Phnom Penh to take part in an opposition demonstration.

After arresting Ser Eak, the police allegedly forced her to travel to Phnom Penh and bring the 12 Kompong Chhnang villagers back to the province, even though they traveled to Phnom Penh only to find work, she said.

“[The police] ordered me to take them back home after they went to Phnom Penh after working for only three days,” Ser Eak said by phone from Kompong Chhnang province. “I have no money, but they forced me to take my daughters back—if I did not go, the police would arrest me.”

All 12 villagers from Banh Skol village, Rolea Ba’ier district, found jobs last week. Yet all decided to leave with Ser Eak on Monday so she could avoid prison.

“We found jobs to do at the Apsara cake shop, but we left be­cause the police did not allow us to leave the village to work in Phnom Penh,” said Sun Sarun, Ser Eak’s 18-year-old daughter, by telephone from Kompong Chhnang on Tuesday.

The police chief of Kompong Chhnang province, Touch Na­ruth, said he did not believe Ser Eak’s allegations.

“We will investigate this case and if we find any evidence we will fire the policemen,” Touch Naruth said on Tuesday. “But I do not believe my colleagues have done this. I reject the rumor.”

the police were involved in any threats against Ser Eak.

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